Press Release WHO/5
13 January 1998
MISSION SET TO REVIEW INFLUENZA SURVEILLANCE IN SOUTHERN CHINA
A World Health Organisation (WHO)-organised team of experts has been invited by the Government of the People's Republic of China to collaborate with the national authorities in their efforts to review ongoing influenza surveillance activities in Guangdong and Hong Kong and recommend any modifications needed.
This visit forms part of WHO=s efforts to strengthen influenza surveillance in humans and animals in the Western Pacific region.
The mission will work in Guangdong Province and Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region from 16 to 22 January to review epidemiological and virological surveillance for influenza in southern China. The team will be in Beijing on 23 January to discuss with the Chinese Government means of strengthening the national plan of action for the surveillance and control of influenza. China's influenza surveillance system is already integrated into the global WHO influenza surveillance programme.
The team will consist of influenza experts, virologists and epidemiologists from WHO headquarters, the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific (WPRO), two WHO Collaborating Centres for Influenza, and representatives of the US-Japan Task Force on communicable disease control.
After finalisation of a plan of action, WHO's technical experts will be available to work in the region in the longer term to: increase surveillance for human influenza in hospitals and outpatient clinics; strengthen surveillance for influenza A(H5N1) in potential animal and bird reservoirs; strengthen laboratory facilities for influenza surveillance in humans and in potential animal reservoir species.
As of today, there continue to be 17 confirmed cases of influenza A(H5N1) infection in humans, all of them in Hong Kong. One suspected case remains under investigation. Eight of the 17 confirmed cases have recovered, two are in a satisfactory condition while three remain critically ill and four have died. Nine cases were in young children, two in adolescents, and six were aged between 19 and 60 years. Thirteen of the 17 cases had onset of illness in December 1997 and were diagnosed after intensified surveillance in hospitals and healthcare centres had begun.
Testing continues of over 2 000 samples taken from 16 species of birds and animals to identify the natural reservoir of the virus and the extent of its spread in the animal population. Results of these tests are expected soon.
Investigation of Origins of H5N1 Influenza Virus Stepped Up in Hong Kong (6 January, 1998)
For further information, please contact Gregory Hartl, Health Communications and public Relations , WHO, Geneva. Telephone (+41 22) 791 4458. Fax (+41 22) 791 4859. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
All WHO Press Releases, Fact Sheets and features as well as other information on this subject can be obtained on the Internet on the WHO home page at http://www.who.ch/ .
For further information please contact Gregory Hartl, Health Communication and Public Relations, WHO, Geneva. Telephone (+ 41 22) 791 4458. Fax (+41 22) 791 4858. Email email@example.com
All WHO Press Releases, Fact Sheets and Features as well as other information on this subject can be obtained on Internet on the WHO home page http://www.who.ch